Dell: Surface hasn't hurt relationship with Microsoft

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12 Dec 2012
XPS 10

While other manufacturers are still upset about Microsoft's Surface, Dell thinks the move to hardware is positive

Microsoft's move into hardware with its Surface tablets doesn't make it a competitor to Dell, the company has said.

In an interview at Dell World, Neil Hand, vice president of product marketing, told PC Pro the Microsoft Surface was a positive move for the industry and that, since its launch, relationships between the two companies had actually improved.

"Does the Surface make Microsoft a competitor? No, they’re just as much a strategic partner today as they were before," Hand said.

Does the Surface make Microsoft a competitor? No, they’re just as much a strategic partner today as they were before

He also denied Microsoft has an inherent advantage. "I don’t believe so, because I've got other IP, I’ve got other software, I’ve got other tools that can bring value to customers as well, and I think we are in an era where we will continue to see further closer collaboration and co-operation to actually drive real innovation in how this works, because no one company can deliver end to end on this.”

This doesn't mean he was wholly impressed by Microsoft’s approach, pointing out that the Surface - and other rival Windows RT devices - were shipped with the preview version of Office 2013.

With the XPS 10, Dell waited until the finished code appeared to save customers the hassle of a 400MB update as soon as they hooked up the device to the internet.

Despite this, he was insistent that the companies now worked together better than ever before.

"I have seen a great improvement in the Microsoft-Dell working relationship and strategy development in tablets over the last months, as we’ve gone: ‘Let’s make sure we’re driving for what’s the most important thing, which is to deliver to the customers and deliver against the other sets of competitors that are out there in the marketplace'."

"It’s more about the realisation that to drive growth and drive value you actually have to collaborate more than less. You say it’s okay to compete."

Streak demise

Reflecting on the demise of the Dell Streak, Hand was philosophical. "You make mistakes, and sometimes all the technologies don’t come together at the right time," he said.

"Some of that work was probably a little too early and not necessarily backed by the right infrastructure to support it. [This time], we’re more mature, the market’s more mature. I think the leap to Windows 8 and that interface really is a leap, and it's going to make a big difference.”

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